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Friday, December 2, 2011

Let's Go Skydiving

Today, I passed the 150 followers mark! WOW! If all of us got together we could do this:

But honestly, I'd rather get together to swap fabric and drink tea. No, make that something with alcohol. Welcome to all of you newcomers who found me via Pinterest, I hope you will enjoy my blog! (My mustard mini skirt was repinned like crazy. And I mean CRAZY - if only 1% of these people actually make the skirt, there will soon be 200 people walking around in it!) And thanks to all of you who were already here, and to the few regulars that leave comments. I love comments!

I was thinking about a giveaway around 100 followers, but then this stampede came by and I missed that moment. Anyway, I don't really have the resources at the moment, so you'll have to get a raincheck on that! And now I leave you with something every decent blogger tries to distract you with when there is really nothing to show: a picture of a cute animal. In this case our dog who helps me press the foot pedall, finds my lost pins for me and checks my hemming from below when I'm fitting something (i.e. begs to be played with).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thrift Store Treasures #3

This project was probably the longest one ever. This sweater was bought a long time ago in a thrift store back home. First I liked the colour, it was a sort of aqua. After a few months, I grew out of it and decided it was too girly for me. I figured I should try to dye it. Ofcourse, there's no 'before' pic of it. I knew the result would be different because there's lamb wool in it, and wool is hard to dye. And dying something already coloured will always give a different outcome too. But on this pic, you can see the result of an attempt to dye it dark brown. Interesting, isn't it? I did like this new colour, it had turned a little darker and a little greyish. (I miss my pretty flower wall. And my pretty flower pants. And big windows.) Anyway, I also took in the sides a little bit, to give it a better silhouette. (Can you tell I've been watching Project Runway? I'm addicted now, it's so inspiring!)

So now the colour was fixed and it had a slightly better fit, but I still found it boring. I wanted to do something with it, but I just couldn't figure out what. The colour is still a bit twee so whatever the alteration would be, I didn't want to emphasize that. Finally I decided to turn it into a cardigan. You'd think it wouldn't take me that long to come up with something not so spectacular, but it took me at least another half a year! I used SnugBug's method of using interface to stabilize the new edges. It worked perfectly, no wobbles at all! I bought the buttons here in Sogndal. They cost me three times as much as the sweater had cost me! I chose these black and white polka dot buttons because the whole gave me a retro feeling.

Hm, this background it quite pretty too. As you can see the buttons are a bit too far on the edge, and the space between them is uneven. Stef made me think about this as he suggested that it would make more sense to place buttons in places you need them, instead of evenly distributed. In that case, it would make sense to have more buttons at the top as there is more tension on the fabric. I'll definitely take this into consideration next time! My buttons are actually wider spaced at the top than at the bottom, but it doesn't really bother me. Still I consider this a very succesful refashion as I will wear it more often and feel much better about it when I wear it!

P.S. The maxi skirt refashion turned out fabulous, more on that later! And in case you're wondering, I'll be making things from scratch again really soon. Especially because there's a serger waiting for me at home! YAY!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Your thoughts on this

Have you ever seen such a maxi skirt? I bet you can't find a skirt crazier than this one. Who would wear this? I think it's actually self made: the hem is basted by hand and the seams are unfinished. I found it at a second hand shop in Bergen and I bought it for the fabric. At first I had grand ideas: I wanted to cut off most of the bottom and make the skirt fit into a high waisted pencil skirt. With the remains I would make this wrap top. Or, just lift the whole thing up and make a fitted dress. But then Stef said: this is way too much 80's print. How are you going to make this look modern? Why not use it as lining, or accents? And seeing as he is usually right, I don't know what to do anymore. People, what would you do with this fabric?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tiny knits for tiny feet

The 'friends are having babies' phase has definitely arrived. These little kimono slippers are for a little girl called Effie (Euphemia), born in Athens a month ago. I don't think her mother reads my blog so I hope it's safe to post them here. They are super easy to make: knit a tiny T-shape, join the short ends together and then sew the long ends together (see blog and ravelry). A perfect way to create something cute out of yarn leftovers. These were made from 100% Alpaca (not leftovers) in a beautiful deep orange, not very well pictured above. I used the other half of the skein for another tiny human, but I think his father does occasionally read my blog so I won't show them here. (Also, I can't, because I forgot to take pictures before I mailed them.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thrift Store Treasures #2

This find was found in Sogndals tiny thriftstore - a huge men's knit sweater. Unfortunately I have somehow lost all the before photos. You'll just have to believe me when I say it was HUGE! I wore it before I refashioned it because we went on an excursion to a cold and windy island on the coast. One of my classmates said: 'Nice potatosack'. I think I could actually fit in it twice. Normally I like it when things are so big, it gives you room to play with. But resizing a coarse knit? I am a bit scared of the effects a sewing machine can have on that. But, when I was knitting something else and finishing it with a matress sitch, I thought: why not use this on my sweater?

And it worked! Even on the sleeves - they were hanging halfway down my upper arms so I had to do something about that. I took off 20 cm in total on the sides and 10 cm on the sleeves. Next step was to secure the seams so I could chopp the excess knit off. I did not trust a plain zig zag to keep the knit from unraveling, so I took a strip of bias tape, cut it into narrow strips and sewed it onto the seam.

I also took off the weird little collar it had, and finished the edge with bias tape. And I added elbow patches just for fun, I really like that look you see everywhere this fall.

It's still a big sweater, but a tight fit would not match the coarseness of the knit. The new arm seams look a bit bulky, but considering how huge it was, I am fairly happy with the result. Although it's not the most neatly finished sweater you could imagine, I serves its purpose and it looks way better than it did before. Also considering the limited choice I have in this thrift shop.

P.S. Braids are very common here in Norway, I think half the girls wear them. We internationals have adopted this, and it's nice to have a few more options when doing your hair!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween - Draping Garbage Bags

When you're in an other country, in a village without any proper resources, and it's Halloween, what do you do? When I was in Peru nine years ago, two Canadian girls showed me how you can make a great Halloween costume with just using tape and garbage bags. I've been wanting to do this again ever since, and last week I finally got the chance. When you say 'I'm going to make a princess dress out of garbage bags' it doesn't actually sound that nice, but the outcome recieved quite some compliments. It started as 'Garbage Princess' but then the Cheshire Cat turned up and somebody called it 'Alice in Garbageland'.

I did not take any pictures of the making, unfortunately. You make it by draping the bags on yourself, as you would do with fabric on your dress form. Beware: once you start making it, you can't take it off anymore. Wear something nice underneath so you can take it all off in public later (see below). You start with one garbage bag wrapped around your waist, and attach the body and sleeves. Then you bind off 6 big and 6 small garbage bags with air in them, and tape them to the body. The black part is to disguise the tape that holds the skirt part. It would have looked better in blue, but we were out of blue bags. I used 17 garbage bags in total.

Once you're out in the town they deflate a bit because of people bumping against them, but the effect stays. Dancing proved to be a bit difficult, as you get really hot wrapped in plastic. But then, having people ripping the bags off you is also quite fun :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Folded Miniskirt Nr.2

UPDATE: The sewing pattern for this skirt is available HERE!

This is my outcome of the tutorial! Hm, I wish I had taken better pictures. I miss my pretty flowered wallpaper! Our wooden cabin is great but the windows are tiny, so I have to take pics outside.

I wore this outfit (minus boots, plus allstars and legwarmers) to a Katzenjammer concert the other night. I love the effect of the double layered tights: first layer is my mustard tights, second layer is zebra print tights. Although, as someone remarked, they could also be tiger tights now. Both are fine with me! What I like less is that it already has holes in it. How do you keep your tights from tearing? Do you have a trick or do you just buy tights you like in threefold?

I don't think I have much to add about the skirt. The fabric is a much better quality than the first skirt, although my machine did not really care about that. Stef laughed at me when I said my miniskirt was warm, but it is! It is double layered and the fabric is thick. Well, you know how it is made now, and I hope you'll let me know when you've made one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Folded Miniskirt Tutorial

UPDATE: The sewing pattern for this skirt is available HERE!

FINALLY! Here it is: 8 steps to having your own folded miniskirt! The first skirt was made in a couple of hours, without any measuring. I just draped, fit, cut. Whereas this tutorial easily took me 15 hours! But, a promise is a promise, and I'd love to see you making it. Good luck! Here we go:
Difficulty: Intermediate. It's based on the Drapedrape dress no 7, and it has the same 'what am I looking at here' feel to it. At one point you'll think, 'what a mess' and then it just clicks and you have a beautiful skirt. This click does not seem to happen with everyone, showing from the comments. If you're not sure about it: wait for the pattern!

One meter/yard is more than enough. I used jersey on both skirts, but you could use anything. A heavier fabric will make bigger folds, a fabric that creases easily will make sharp folds. Just remember that with no stretch you'll need to make a closing, and the fabric-heavy side seams are not suitable for a zipper. I do not use a closing on the skirt, I sort of wriggle myself into it. Yes, it's these kind of weird things that made me hesitate to make a tutorial, because now you can all see the shortcuts I take.

Nothing fancy, just pins, maybe chalk, ruler, scissors.

Step 1: Pattern pieces & measurements
The pattern pieces for this skirt are so easy, you can draw your own right on the fabric. For this you need your measurements. Measure the circumference of the widest point of your hips. For me this is at my lower hip bones. This is what we'll transfer to the pattern. You will need:

1) front
I used my measurements as an example: 100 cm. For the width, use this formula: ([measurement]/2)+10. So for me this is (100/2)+10=60 cm. The length is 67 cm in total, including 1,5 cm seam allowance at top and bottom.

2) back
The width of the back will then be ([measurement]/2)-10, which is 40 cm for me. The length is also 67 cm.

3) lining
The lining will have the same width as the front piece (60 for me), but half of the length, which is 33,5. I used the same fabric for this, but you could use something else too, as long as it's stretch.

We are working with a few centimeters of excess fabric, so if the pieces are a bit off here and there during the assembling, don't worry.

Step 2: Cut fabric & mark with pins.
Cut the pattern pieces: front (67x[front measurement]), back (67x[back measurement]) and lining (33,5 x [front measurement]). On the right side of the front piece, mark the edges on the distances (in cm) indicated below. You could use chalk for this, but I used colored pins to indicated what part folds to what: in the pattern indicated with blue and purple.

Step 3: Start folding!
Use the image above, and start folding the skirt at the bottom. Start with the first small purple fold on the right, from 0 to 4 cm, like this:

I used yellow and red pins on my fabric. Fold the bottom of the fabric to the back (including the seam allowance). On the left, fold in only the seam allowance. Pin in place. Then, fold the small purple on the left in the same way, together with the big blue fold on the right. Follow the numbers in the drawing. The blue fold lays over the small fold. To make things clear, I made a video of folding the first three folds, so you can see how it works. The X marks are the small purple folds, the circles mark the big blue folds.

Continue to fold the pins as shown in the pattern. The small purple ones form a fold across the skirt with the big blue ones. When you're done, the fabric should look like this:

Use pins to hold the folds in place. Be careful when you move the fabric: if you pick it up the folds will unfold. Make sure the height is the same on the left and right side, 32 cm. If not, adjust the folds a bit.

Step 4: Add lining
Take out the pin at the bottom of the skirt so you can pin the lining to it. Put the lining on the front piece, right sides together. Pin the bottom of the lining to the seam allowance of the front piece, then turn it around and fold the lining over the back of the front. The bottom of the lining is at an angle, which means you need to cut a bit off the top. Don't let the seam fall exactly at the bottom, but leave 0,5 cm at the bottom of the front part. This will make the bottom of the front part look like a fold, too. No seams will be visible on the outside. The back of your fabric should look like this now:

 If it looks right, sew the lining to the front piece at the part you just pinned.

Step 5: Secure the folds
Now, you're going to secure every individual fold to the lining. First, pin the bottom in place to make sure you don't shift it while pinning. Then, move your hand under the fold, in between the fabric, until your fingertips feel the fold on the inside. Put pins along the fold right where your fingertips are. If you're doing it right, no pins should be visible on the front.

Then, sew the part you just pinned with a zig-zag. Continue this for the other folds, too. The picture below indicates in yellow where your zig zag seams should be. Be sure to sew the right side of the fold, so that it doesn't show on the outside. I'd recommend pinning and sewing one fold at a time, instead of pinning all and then sewing all, to make sure the lining is not pulling on the front.

Step 6: Add back
Lay the front piece on the back piece, right sides up, like in the picture below. You can see that I already cut the pieces according to my shape, but you will do this when fitting the skirt. I had the advantage to be working with a finished skirt so I could just transfer the measurements.

Fold the back piece over the front piece, and pin them together. The front will bubble a bit inside the back, as it is wider. Then, pull the front all the way out of between the back pieces, and turn the back piece inside out.

Step 7: Try it on!
This is where you will do the fitting. Try it on, and put pins on the places at the seam where you want to take it in. I took in fabric at the top, obviously, and at the bottom. It is now snug and follows my curves. As you can see, the bulk of fabric created at the side seams doesn't really show because the seams lay more to the back than exactly at the side. For someone with big hips like me, this is really fortunate. If you are satisfied with the fit, sew the side seams and cut off the excess fabric. There is no need to finish the seams because there aren't any!

Step 8: Add waistband
Draft a waistband according to the measurements of your skirt. Make the front piece longer than the back piece so as to match the side seams of the skirt. Unfortunately, I am not an expert on waistbands. I just drafted a standard, slightly curved 4 cm high waistband. Four pieces in total, sewn together at the top, turned, joined at the side and sewn to the skirt (with small zig-zag, or another way to keep the horizontal stretch). To secure the inside piece I stitched in the ditch of the front seam. I hope you are better at this than I am, this usually takes me some fitting turns and a lot of adjusting pins. If necessary, you can make two small pleats on the back piece of the skirt, like I did with my first skirt. For some reason, it wasn't necessary this time. Maybe it has something to do with the fabric.

That's it, you're done! 
I hope this tutorial makes sense. If you have any questions or problems, just leave a comment or send me an email so I can help you or add things. And, ofcourse, if you use this on your blog, please link back to it. Also, this tutorial is intended for personal use only.

I'm very pleased with my finished skirt, and I'll show it as soon as I have the opportunity to make some decent photo's!

UPDATE: check out my second skirt!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yay & Argh

The good news: I've started working on the tutorial! I'm 3/4 finished, it'll really be up soon!

The bad news: This is supposed to be a zig-zag stitch.

My machine only has one speed at the moment: SUPERFAST. Which I should have fixed back home, but I didn't because I sort of got used to it. Now it's really annoying because with this fabric (very pretty heavy weight teal jersey) it keeps skipping stitches and slicing the thread. I've tried all the different needles I've got, different tensions, but to no avail. When I was ready to throw it out of the window, I took a break (tea and chocolate, always helps) and then dissected the presser foot.

I couldn't find the problem, so I guess I'm stuck with it. Good thing that this skirt has no visible seams on the outside...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I'm working on

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I thought I'd let you in on what I'm working on. There's been a tug-o-war going on in my head. On one side, there is the miniskirt tutorial I promised you. I brought the fabric with me, and I'd really like to make another skirt. On the other side is a sweater which I really need because temperatures will drop below zero the coming week. So, I don't know who will win, but you'll find out next week! The good thing is that I finally have some time to actually make something because I gave myself the day off on monday.

Then, I made some sketches for another project I brought fabric for: a jersey dress. 3/4 bat sleeves, balloon skirt, matching stripes. A skill-improving project! Really excited about starting that one as well, but it's third on the priority list.

I am so happy I brought my own fabrics, since the fabric store only has quilting cotton, and everything is way overprized anyway. I need something to underline the jersey dress with though, preferebly another stretch fabric. Today I found a Norwegian online fabric store Stof og Stil. I'm really excited about their printed jerseys.

How cute are these dachshunds? I'd love to wear something with snails, but this color is really hard to match (check this, I'm actually thinking about matching before I buy the fabric! Improvements, people). The pink owls would fit in my fall palette and I've been looking for an owl print for a long time. But, maybe the fact that these designs are shown on children is saying something... Am I too old for a Dachshund shirt?

The most exciting thing is their rainclothing fabric.  They have it in six colors and one with a circle print. They even have iron-on strips to make the seams waterproof. How awesome would it be to make my own rainjacket? I wish I didn't have to choose between all these projects...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thrift Store Treasures #1

My second favourite shop in Sogndal? A tiny thrift store! It's the kind of store you would expect in a village like this: run by a couple of elder ladies, filled with embroidered table runners, ugly candle holders and hand knitted mittens. The ladies are frequently visited by elder men who stop by and drink coffee. They even seem to have a few 'behind the counter sofa's' especially for this purpose. The choice of clothing is ofcourse very limited, so it's even more of a challenge to find something to work with.

What I found so far, is an asymmetric teal shrug, and a pink top. The shrug was ready to wear, so I left it as it was. A week later, I found the pink top which definitely needed altering. Way too many gathers and ruffles at the neckline for my taste, and it was size a L. But I liked the buttons and the shiny fabric (rayon/viscose).

I started with taking the top apart at the shoulders and the sleeves. I took out the gathers, but left some at the neckline and at the back. I then turned the hem over and topstitched it to get rid of the ruffles.The result is a much smoother neckline, and a less poofy back. To create a silhouette, I took the side seams in, and made two sashes with the excess fabric. Sewed them in the side seams, and tied them at the back.

I tried to sew in the sleeves without gathers, but that was a bit tricky. They look a bit strange now, but i think I've figured out what to do about it. At least now I know it's not possible to keep the gathers at the arm seam and get rid of the gathers at the shoulder seam at the same time. I like how it turned out, it's a bit slouchy but the shiny fabric makes it less casual. And I can wear it with my thrifted shrug!

So not only did I manage to acquire two new garments that can be combined, I also stuck to my new colour scheme, using pink and blue! I'm getting there, people. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nette's giveaway

A few weeks ago, I participated in Nette's Summer Giveaway, and I won! I got this pretty package in the mail:

She made a shrug and a hand-printed tote for two lucky winners. I can't tell you how nice it is to have something made by a fellow blogger. She was one of the first people I followed, and although our styles are a bit different, I really like her craftyness and the details she puts in her garments. 

This is the little tote with hand-stamped catprint. I have it with me all the time, to use for unplanned shopping. It has a little bag on the inside so you can fold it into a tiny package. I also took it with my on a hike up in the Norwegian mountains, and even though it's not very big, it held everything I needed.

This is my third shrug! Casually styled with my 'sunday at the campsite' outfit: chill-pants, longsleeved merino shirt and Allstars :) I'm sorry, this is the best I can do at the moment. I am going to wear it tonight in a better combination, I promise! As you can see this one is bigger and better fitting than the shrugs I made. Lesson learned: use the pattern!

And a last photo of the view from my tent, overlooking the mountains and the fjord... Not bad, eh?